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Offline Flyin6

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Gator 825i Build Thread
« on: September 15, 2014, 07:28:11 PM »
This will be my John Deere Gator 825i build thread. My hope is to take an already capable utility vehicle, and build it for use as a farm utility vehicle and a security/recon vehicle for possible bad times

I'll focus on suspension, lighting, redundancy, extra range, horsepower, weapons, and a good selection of auxiliary equipment
« Last Edit: October 11, 2014, 05:17:42 PM by Flyin6 »
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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2014, 07:34:09 PM »
Mostly still stock
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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 07:37:23 PM »
Then the parts started to arrive
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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 07:38:28 PM »
You see how it is configured stock.
I have the following parts either sitting here on the floor or enroute from all over:
1. Tempered Glass windshield with an electric wiper
2. Rear side tubular slider/armor
3. Rear tubular bumper
4. Hi perf stainless exhaust
5. Seat belt extenders
6. High back racing bucket seats
7. Hella long range lights, 2 ea.
8. Roof mounted flood lights
9. Front facia long range pencil beam lights
10. Front 4500 Super winch with:
50' of synthetic line
Bobbin
Poly roller fairhead
11. Frame to mount stock 21" buckets into the bed for passengers
12. Rear head rest and back protector
13. Poly roof
14. Fox coil-over shocks w/remote resevoirs
15. front and rear steel CV guards
16. RotoPax 3 gal gas can
17. Rotopax first aid kit
18. 2ea 2 gal RotoPax water cans
19. Rotopax gear box
20. M4 carbine mount
21. Fire extinguisher
22. SHovel
23. Axe
24. Self Recovery kit
25. some more stuff, but my brain is getting fried...
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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 07:40:37 PM »
Easy build day today.
Got the exhaust , seat belt things and the CV guards installed. Tomorrow thinking about tackling either the windshield or Fox Shocks.
The muffler replacement was about as straight forward as it could possibly could be. The factory muffler does a descent job, but the aftermarket one supports more flow which gives a 5% power boost right now up to 52.5hp. That estra flow rate will get a lot more important when it comes to turbo time.
Here's the before shot:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2014, 07:43:23 PM »
THat is all pretty heavy stuff in there. I was not all that happy to find the aftermarket exhaust was also pretty weighty. Makes me think it just might go bye-bye sometime in the not too distant future!
Here the box of stuff before I started removing things:
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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 07:44:31 PM »
First you remove the heat shield which is an easy removal of 4ea 8mm head bolts
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2014, 07:45:58 PM »
With just the removal of 2 bolts, the muffler can be wiggled free and removed. Here it is side by side with the new stainless replacement:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2014, 07:46:53 PM »
John Deere does not use, nor recommend using a clamp. THey just use this "fuzzy bushing" and the muffler simply slips over the old exhaust pipe
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2014, 07:47:47 PM »
Reversing the process the muffler installs easily and just like that I am as done as I am going to make it. I decided I don't need no stinkin heat shield! Extra weight carried around to protect some bonehead from burning himself because he's not smart enough to avoid hot stuff. In this case we'll allow the law of natural selection to deselect such a person. (Now having made that statement, watch the bonehead be me!)
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2014, 07:56:08 PM »
Reversing the process the muffler installs easily and just like that I am as done as I am going to make it. I decided I don't need no stinkin heat shield! Extra weight carried around to protect some bonehead from burning himself because he's not smart enough to avoid hot stuff. In this case we'll allow the law of natural selection to deselect such a person. (Now having made that statement, watch the bonehead be me!)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 08:00:06 PM by Flyin6 »
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2014, 08:01:25 PM »
Earlier we were joking about my seat belt extenders. You'll have to read almost 2.5 thousand posts over in my other build thread to get what I am talking about, but these extenders are actually seat belt re-positioners.
Here's where we will be working next:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 08:02:50 PM »
With a quick removal of the stock bolt and the addition of this length of nylon, the belt is reconfigured for rough terrain useage.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 08:05:06 PM »
All righty, moving to the swing arm CV boot(s) guards. I learned with my older 850D gator that you need a lot of protection on the swing arms. I have busted a number of boots on that gator so literally the first thing I speced with this purchase were the front and rear guards. Here's what it all looks like stock.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2014, 08:06:26 PM »
You just get a small plastic guard covering one side of the outer boot. Much more is needed. I'm holding the old one in front of the new one...Any questions?? Here are the new steel guards:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2014, 08:08:06 PM »
There are a little gymnastics to get everything bolted up, but it goes pretty fast. A third hand or a jack is necessary for this step.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2014, 08:10:44 PM »
Next comes the front
These are much easier. THe new gators have a factory long travel suspension already installed and feature cast steel lower control arms which are predrilled for the CV guards!
Here's the stockers:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2014, 08:11:38 PM »
And the new cool parts:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2014, 08:13:39 PM »
Hmmm, seem to have pulled a blackhawk pilot, err, I mean a bonehead. I forgot to snap a shot of those guards installed. Oh well, owe you all that. Anyway, here's the thing in it's current state of modification, which will change again tomorrow!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2014, 08:15:44 PM »
Installed a windshield and wiper kit today. Still wading through John Deere parts and have a ton more before I start getting all custom.
Here's the box and what's in it:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2014, 08:16:39 PM »
And the before pic
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2014, 08:18:09 PM »
First I removed the top. Accessories like the poly top is held in place with a cool cam lock roll bar clamp that allows you to pop off things like the roof and windshield in a minute or two. Pretty stout as well!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2014, 08:19:35 PM »
Clear working space!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2014, 08:20:59 PM »
The windshield is held in place by way of the same cool cam lock system
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2014, 08:22:44 PM »
Installing it is about as simple as it can be. THe bottom piece swings up for ventilation if you so desire, I have mine down as cold weather ah cometh. I reattached the top and just like that, I was done with this step of the process.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2014, 08:24:05 PM »
From Ashley:

Don, where is the switch located for the wiper motor?? Is it up high, next to the actual motor itself, or is it down on the dash? Or maybe you havent even gotten to that part yet. I may be jumping ahead too far...

Just curious. I like the windshield. The bottom section does flip up. I was about to call you out on that one, because the majority of them, the top folds up, and the bottom stays put. But, you are right. Bottom piece folds, not top. Maybe you already know this, maybe you dont, going to interject it either way...

In the summer, when it is dusty, when the windshield is down, all that dust and dirt will come around the sides, and settle in behind the windshield, right where you sit, and fall out all over you and everything there with you. When you raise the top, or in your case, the bottom, it allows the air to flow through, and carry the dirt with it. Now, you will still get some dirt on ya, but, not nearly as much as what will fall out on you with the windshield down. We had these issues out in west texas where we were hunting. Even though it was winter, it was bad dry. You pack about 6 guys and gear on one, and take off. After we all got to our destination, we would be covered in dirt, as well as our guns and gear. So, we opened up the windshield, and battled the cold air, but not the dust.

Again, just interjecting a small point, in case you were not aware... Not trying to hijack. Keep up the good work. You're going to convince me into buying one now!!!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2014, 08:24:59 PM »
Posted by Armalite View Post
Don, where is the switch located for the wiper motor?? Is it up high, next to the actual motor itself, or is it down on the dash? Or maybe you havent even gotten to that part yet. I may be jumping ahead too far...

Just curious. I like the windshield. The bottom section does flip up. I was about to call you out on that one, because the majority of them, the top folds up, and the bottom stays put. But, you are right. Bottom piece folds, not top. Maybe you already know this, maybe you dont, going to interject it either way...

In the summer, when it is dusty, when the windshield is down, all that dust and dirt will come around the sides, and settle in behind the windshield, right where you sit, and fall out all over you and everything there with you. When you raise the top, or in your case, the bottom, it allows the air to flow through, and carry the dirt with it. Now, you will still get some dirt on ya, but, not nearly as much as what will fall out on you with the windshield down. We had these issues out in west texas where we were hunting. Even though it was winter, it was bad dry. You pack about 6 guys and gear on one, and take off. After we all got to our destination, we would be covered in dirt, as well as our guns and gear. So, we opened up the windshield, and battled the cold air, but not the dust.

Again, just interjecting a small point, in case you were not aware... Not trying to hijack. Keep up the good work. You're going to convince me into buying one now!!!


Good one Ash, but here in the tucky we don't have no stinkin dust! Only this strange blue grass clippings getting all stuck in your hair, nose, ears, mouth and so forth.
OK, a bit of an exaggeration there we definately do have dust, although not Texas sized. Good call, didn't know that...
The switch is right on the motor. THe harness is not hooked up at the moment. SInce I ordered every concievable light made for this thing, I had to order an electrical distribution panel as well. I plan to pull the 35W Halogen bulbs out of the headlights and replace with HID's to lower the amperage draw. But it has a huge 70+ amp alternator.
Just wait until I turbocharge it...it is gonna absolutely fly!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2014, 08:26:09 PM »
From Shawn:

OK, I'm going to watch this thread closely and if Don gets into any custom fab stuff may even be able to help him out with a project or two. I am interested in purchasing one of these side by sides next year but have not really taken the Green seriously thus far. So here is the challenge Don, convert me from Orange (yeah I'm an Allis fan even though they don't have a dog in this fight) to JD Green......
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2014, 08:27:59 PM »
OK, got some more stuff done today. Got some more armor installed and added some lights. Let's start with the simplest addition, stuffing a tow strap into one of the storage cranny. THis is a 12K, 25 foot strap folded and stuffed, burrito style.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2014, 08:29:26 PM »
Next for the rear bumper install. It's a simple 4 bolt 10 min max operation. I like this because the kids or rear passengers now have a step up into the bed.
Here's the before shot and the bumper alone installed:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2014, 08:31:01 PM »
John deere makes some neat side armor pieces that bolt right up to the bed. Not as strong as a tubing roll cage or rock rail, but this thing only weighs 1600 lbs so this tubing is more than up to the task of rubbing up against trees or hyundais.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2014, 08:31:56 PM »
You can see it fits well and integrates well with the body work and the new rear bumper. Here it is all assembled:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2014, 08:33:13 PM »
Next up was the lights. To install them, JD requires the mounting of a nifty self contained switch panel and the routing of a couple of per built wiring harnesses. It's a simple plug and play assembly is nothing more that tedious. Here's pics of all that going in:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2014, 08:36:27 PM »
With the inner holes drilled you mount the lights and thread the wires up through the hollow studs and assemble the wires into the supplied plugs
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2014, 08:38:27 PM »
Here's a shot of all the lights on.
I still have to mount the two Hellas and the two eyeball long range lights. THat will have to wait until tomorrow.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2014, 08:40:13 PM »
Here's one thing that's going to have to either go completely or change. The dash lighting is red/orange.
I need it to be a NVG friendly blue green. I'll have to figure out how to fix that while I tear into this little monster!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2014, 08:42:31 PM »
Lots of posts showing up!
I put a marathon day on el gat-tor. It now has so many lights, I had to buy stock in a power company!
Let me see:
Tracks: No
Light bar: nope, already have enough lighting
Motor: THis gator is a gasser. I own an older 850D which has a 24 HP Yanmar 3 cyl diesel. At the time JD called it high performance due to it's 31mph top end which was pretty fast for 2007. These days, it's a lead sled!

OK on to today. I did so much stuff that I'll just post one thing per day for awhile until this thread catches up with the mod state of the gator.

Next I will install some Hella off road spot lights onto the front brush guard.
Here's what came in that box:
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2014, 08:45:29 PM »
The lights are very robust in construction. Quality was evidient everywhere. You really do get what you pay for!
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2014, 08:46:58 PM »
To gain access, you unpin and fold the front guard forward. Then you lift out the nifty storage tray under the hood, exposing the wiring harness and the backside of the dash.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2014, 08:48:18 PM »
Next you simply plug the auxilliary lighting harness into the existing factory harness and route the wires according to instructions, then zip tie it all in place.
The dash has slots already for multiple lights, so I selected a slot and glued on the label trim and installed the switch.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2014, 08:49:41 PM »
Next, the Hella spots were bolted in place and the harness connected.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2014, 08:51:43 PM »
A simple test confirmed everything was working just fine.

No time to waste, onward to installing the intermediate range spot lamps next.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2014, 08:53:14 PM »
Originally Posted by GreatLakeOffRoad View Post
That gator doesn't even have a winch from the factory? I know they have a winch option for this unit, where is yours at? Or do your pics just suck that bad I can't see it????????

Your letting me down early Don, this is not a good start!!!

No yellow seat either, what gives?

First of all, yellow (based on yesterday's game results) is for hoosiers
Camo is for Kentuckians, since there are no royal blue seats in the JD inventory. THere are no camo seats either, so... Black it is.
I don't want to give the whole build away just yet, but if you look at the list I published of parts you will notice some high back heavily padded sports (racing) seats listed. When thise jewels get here they replace the front seats and those cool 21" high back seats already installed move to the back. I plan to mount those in the bed with seat belts of course for the future rnagers I am currently raising.

Winch: Yes they do offer a Warn 3500 lb winch with steel cable. They charge something like $800ish for that winch. I went the custom route and ordered a 4500 lb winch with synthetic line which is now sitting in the garage near the Fox shocks.
Don't worry friend, I'll work overtime if necessary just to keep you from getting angry. Then, later on we're going to work on that anger issue one on one over coffee and tea. When you become difficult to work with or angry, then you get to learn about pain control as well, until you become calm once again, and see the benefit to drinking the coffee instead! 
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #43 on: September 15, 2014, 08:54:19 PM »
Shawn wrote:

 don't drink coffe or tea, what then? On a similiar note I ordered in for one of my friends a warn 4500# a few years back for his polaris side by side, it wasn't long before he burnt it up. You may contemplate bigger is better, or longer lasting at least? I also understand at some point you will be stressing the frame into breaking in half, say if you tied off the rear to a tree and were pulling from the front......

I also spoke with the warn winch rep at KOH in 2011 and those cheapo M8000 units they sell for $500 are the best selling and one of the most durable units they have. Just info to feed you with from the horses mouth so to speak.
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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #44 on: September 15, 2014, 08:55:07 PM »
Originally Posted by GreatLakeOffRoad View Post
I don't drink coffe or tea, what then? On a similiar note I ordered in for one of my friends a warn 4500# a few years back for his polaris side by side, it wasn't long before he burnt it up. You may contemplate bigger is better, or longer lasting at least? I also understand at some point you will be stressing the frame into breaking in half, say if you tied off the rear to a tree and were pulling from the front......


I also spoke with the warn winch rep at KOH in 2011 and those cheapo M8000 units they sell for $500 are the best selling and one of the most durable units they have. Just info to feed you with from the horses mouth so to speak.

I concur, when it comes to Warn, the extra you pay in no way seems to reflect how long the winch will last. The T-Max 9000 I have on my truck I first bolted on my Tundra maybe 7-8 years ago. Then I had it on my Hummer H2. Then back on the tundra, and finally on my current HD2500.
When I bought that one I compared every aspect of it to the warn 9000. Warn had a 4.6HP motor, the T-Max had a 6.6HP! The line retrival speed on the Tmax was faster. The planetary gears in the t-mas were larger and it had more splines. Almost everything was stronger with the T-Max, and now all these years later it still works like new. I just winched a Gazebo up to level which was on a pond and leaning heavily. I'm sure I was exceeding it's max ability, but I didn't see so much as a puff of smoke.
I purchased a ProMark 4500 this time. Why? Because it was very inexpensive, and I'll just bet it will get the job done quite nicely. Would have liked to install a 6K however I thing the mount is different than the smaller ATV bolt patterns.
Site owner    IS 6:8  Psalm 91 
NSDQ      Author: Distant Thunder

Offline Flyin6

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #45 on: September 15, 2014, 08:57:11 PM »
Originally Posted by Armalite View Post
Have you debated on installing a seperate back up battery supply? I only ask because I know in the past, with my utv, I was checking out a few things on the lease. Had a low battery, but was enough to crank. Needless to say, I got stuck in a creek. Tried to winch out, and utv died on me. Not enough power to crank, or run the winch long enough to pull me out. Had to walk back to truck, get it in there, and pull myself out using the truck. Bought a new battery the next day. A deep cell battery would have helped a ton. Just curious if you've debated this, with running all the aux lights. And apparantly you have enough alternator to keep a charge on a deep cell aux battery...

That's a very good idea Ashley!
I was initially eyeing the roof for one of those solar panels you sent me, but after I decided to fill up the bed with all two seats, aux fuel, some storage containers and the dog, I canned that idea. The roof will now be the future site of a roof rack.
As I develop this project in my mind I am seeing big changes. I will definately need about 100Hp on tap to move it around more quicklier (as they liked to say in the SERE course I went to once) especially with all the extra weight.
I think the vehicle might end up operating at near gross weight, hence the need for mo-power. After rulling out a duramax as a possible powerplant and the LS1 will not fit either, I have to stir up the soup in this little screamin' me-me! I figure a good head port, intake work, maybe a blueprinted bottom end and a turbo with an intercooler and mugo bigger injectors capable of sucking the fuel tank dry in a single throttle burst...that should be about right.
Did I ever mention I used to own a business? Called it Harward Performance. Know what our motto was?
"When too much is not enough!" Yep, seemed to retained that philosophy...

So looking at it, after I complete this bolt on blitz of JD happy homeowner pieces parts. I'll add the cool gas can parts. OOH, you haven't seen that, sorry, I have Yep, cluttering up one end of the garage. I think I am going to trash the whole air intake system. THis thing needs a custom airbox, Don built along with a snorkle, big K&N and tubing much larger than the current straw it is sipping through.
Then the more I look at it the more it is screaming for a full cage, as in over the rear as well. If I roll it over and one of the future rangers gets wiped out, I am possibly damaging our nations future security. so I have to take steps, based on our national security to keep those numbskulls somewhat protected.
Besides, with a roll cage, I'll have more room to bolt stuff onto the tactor. (That's Tac for tactical, and tor from gator)
So by the time you guys decide I's gots to have one, I'll have it all ciphered out! Maybe I'll sell the design to my SF buddies in one of the groups!
Site owner    IS 6:8  Psalm 91 
NSDQ      Author: Distant Thunder

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2014, 09:00:02 PM »
Couple shots of the aux lighting fired up in the driveway. Using the flash does not do it justice. Suffice it to say there is an abundance of light, more than necessary!
Site owner    IS 6:8  Psalm 91 
NSDQ      Author: Distant Thunder

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #47 on: September 15, 2014, 09:01:27 PM »
Bobby wrote:

Chief,
I decided that my inaugural post should be in your build. Since I can't sleep at anyway I was thinking about what I'd do if I had a gator like yours. Remember those ODA humvees with the TC side mounted 240? More specifically the mount?? Or the DPV's the seals had? More specifically the MG mounted in front of the TC (yet removable so you can use the windscreen)... I think you see where I'm going with that line questioning. If anyone can make it work on a gator I'm sure you could. Shouldn't be hard to make a mount for a 12ga or M4, with your metal skills.

That would allow the vehicle to be used in the recon mode, but allow the TC to fire accurately, with out inujring themselves or others in the gator.. Now that I left you with an idea on top of your other ideas, I'm off to hunt down that woodpecker that woke me up.
Site owner    IS 6:8  Psalm 91 
NSDQ      Author: Distant Thunder

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #48 on: September 15, 2014, 09:01:58 PM »
Bobby, welcome!
I'm sticking a cool M4 mount in front above my knoggin...Tht's as far as i'm going with that idea for the moment. Idea is to scout, stay out of trouble and use speed if i gets into some...
Site owner    IS 6:8  Psalm 91 
NSDQ      Author: Distant Thunder

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Re: Gator 825i Build Thread
« Reply #49 on: September 15, 2014, 09:03:57 PM »
Lets do another light install. This time I will be installing the John Deere pencil beams in the facia panel below the brush guard. Here's what came in that box:
Site owner    IS 6:8  Psalm 91 
NSDQ      Author: Distant Thunder